The Paper Trail

When we started letting news of our adoption trickle out in the spring, we honestly thought we could finish our paperwork (called a dossier) by the time summer ended. However, because of a few documents getting lost or just not even dealt with, we have only recently submitted them (they arrived in Ethiopia yesterday, 12/7).

Some of our friends and even family have expressed frustration over the process taking so long. We keep getting asked if we have a picture of a child yet or a travel date. Those things are still months away.

To let you in on what we’ve been doing so far, I am listing the documents we’ve been working on SINCE APRIL. Items 1-20 had to be notarized/certified originals. We also were instructed to compile 2 sets of originals in case one set was lost in transit.

  1. local police clearance letter (for each of us)
  2. passport photos (for each of us)
  3. birth certificates (for each of us)
  4. marriage certificate
  5. medical clearance letter (for each of us; different from item 24)
  6. family photos and cover sheet
  7. employment letter (for each of us; different from item 30)
  8. letter from our bank that we are in good standing
  9. form 1040—page 1 of tax returns for previous 3 years, with cover sheet
  10. letter to Ethiopian government requesting adoption from us
  11. four reference letters (as a couple)
  12. commitment letter to provide post-adoption reports
  13. adoptive parent form (for each of us)
  14. obligation of social welfare agency
  15. power of attorney
  16. dossier cover letter
  17. social worker license
  18. home study agency license
  19. home study provider approval letter
  20. the actual home study, which includes the following:
  21. three different people each submitted a four-page reference form
  22. a list of all our addresses for each of us since age 18
  23. child abuse registry checks for each state of residence since 18 (for each of us)
  24. criminal records check (for each of us)
  25. full physical and medical history (for each of us)
  26. drug screening (for each of us)
  27. pet vaccinations
  28. health and life insurance verification
  29. proof that our home is up to code and a safe environment
  30. record of any 911 calls made by us (luckily there were none)
  31. a letter from our employers stating salary, job duties, performance, etc.
  32. a monthly budget
  33. a list of our personal assets and liabilities
  34. a family reference (from a parent for each of us)
  35. pediatrician’s report for Avery
  36. extensive autobiography forms (for each of us)
  37. cultural study and worksheets
  38. plus several other forms which required reading, signatures and notaries

During this time we’ve also been educating ourselves in all things related to adoption, including our own personal journey as well as required training, such as reading an adoption manual and taking a test, watching videos, reading articles and attending webinars.

We’d like to say a big thanks to Mandy Eden for helping us with the notaries and Christina Bennett, our amazing social worker. Thank you for making us feel such at ease. We enjoyed all of the home visits and interviews and look forward to seeing you again.


  1. Wow! That's amazing. I think they did forget to ask for a DNA sample. It will all be worth every bit of it. I can't wait to continue this journey with you guys, thank you for sharing with all of us!

  2. Wow, they don't make adoption easy do they? I commend you guys for sticking with it all these months. I know you are very excited and anxious for the date to finally arrive when you will see your future son or daughter. You two are great parents to Avery, and whoever the child is that you adopt will be joining a wonderful family. We love you guys!

  3. Hot Dang! Jessica I had no idea it was such an intense process that is a lot of paperwork and documents. I'm so glad the dossier has safely made it to Ethiopia Praise the Lord for that! I'm continuing to pray for you and your family during this process and the two bundles of Joy that will join your family soon.

    P.S. I'm a blog follower now :)

    Love y'all!!!